Health survey determines what services Gladstone needs

Doctor Gaston Boulanger has urged residents to have their say in a new Health Plan survey.

Eilish Massie

Concerned about the state of Gladstone’s healthcare system, a local doctor has called on the community to have their say in a new survey.

Speaking with Gladstone Today, Doctor Gaston Boulanger urged residents to participate in a new ‘Health Plan’ survey.

Commissioned by the Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network (CQWBSC PHN), the Health Plan survey is a project done by Central Queensland Rural Health (CQRH).

The survey, which was released last Thursday, aims to explore residents’ experiences and views of the current health services available in the Gladstone region, both primary care services and services delivered in or through the Gladstone Hospital.

Health Workforce Queensland conducted the survey.

Dr Boulanger has advocated for Gladstone Hospital to upgrade to a Level Four facility for several years.

Currently Gladstone Hospital is operating as a level three facility by stand-alone organisation CQHHS, which only permits operations of a limited complexity, by sufficiently qualified doctors to be conducted locally.

Dr Boulanger said it was vital for residents to have their say in order for the region to receive the facilities it needs.

Dr Boulanger said a lot of his patients have voiced their disappointment in the lack of health facilities in the region.

“They beg for more specialists, they beg for more beds, they beg not to travel to Rockhampton, Bundaberg or Brisbane,” he said.

“That means they support a Level Four hospital.”

CQRH CEO Sandra Corfield said the survey was to determine what health services the community needs, and was not only about the hospital.

“It would determine if there is a gap in services,” Ms Corfield said.

“This survey is about taking a step back and seeing where the health issues are at.

“Do people think there is a gap in care for patients? Do they think there is a gap in GP appointments? Do they think dietitians are a priority? Do they think health services are not well integrated? Or more services need to be done at the hospital?

“There may be other things the community feels broadly about that the region needs.”

Conducted in two sections, the survey gives residents the chance to anonymously voice their experience with Gladstone’s current healthcare system.

The two-section survey entails questions for community members, health professionals and service managers, and would only take 12 minutes to complete.

Additional items for ’Health Professionals’, and ’Health service managers’. These items require greater knowledge of services at the Gladstone hospital and should take approximately 3 minutes extra to complete.

Community members can also ’opt in’ to complete these items but the questions do require a more advanced level of knowledge and/or experience of the Gladstone hospital.

The survey will make its way to residents’ mailboxes over the coming days.

Ms Corfield said she hoped to receive a 10 per cent response rate.

She said she highly encouraged those to have their say.

I would like to encourage people to be involved as health professionals or community members

“Communities have the capacity to advocate and support the development of services to meet their own health needs,” she said.

“A lot of times it’s the community’s voice that is the strongest.”

“If they have solutions or ideas or something they want to say, then they should take the opportunity to say it.”

Dr Boulanger said the survey was one step closer for Gladstone to receive a Level Four hospital.

“I expect people will voice the things we’ve been saying – that Gladstone needs a level four hospital, that is what we want,” he said.

“I hope what we’ve been saying about the depleted services in Gladstone will go to Minister D’ath.”

If you would like to have your say on Gladstone Hospital, go to https://survey.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aXdmnjlanRSkobI?fbclid=IwAR1XuqcSapfgUkM9_NAGk6ddvZDQyq-g9zyZl5Al_EnWu70xp0-pEyaZ998.